UK injects Shs9b into Uganda Ebola fight

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The United Kingdom government has contributed £2.2m (about Shs9.6b) to support the country’s response to the Ebola outbreak, the development director at the British High Commission in Kampala, Mr Phillip Smith, has revealed.

During a press conference at the Ministry of Health offices in Kampala yesterday, Mr Smith said the money will be channelled through the World Food Programme (WFP),  United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund  (Unicef), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to cater for logistics, community engagement, water and sanitation and coordination of the response.

“We have also deployed UK experts to the WHO team [to help with] case management, infection prevention and control and surveillance,” he said.

Mr Smith was briefing the media on the fourth Uganda -UK health Alliance symposium slated for November 2.

The symposium, which will be held virtually and is free of charge, aims to provide a platform to showcase the contribution of UK-led global health partnership to Uganda’s health sector, and to identify priority areas for future partnerships between Uganda and the UK.

On September 30, the government confirmed the outbreak of the pandemic in the country. At least 129 people have since contracted the virus and 37 have died.

Mr Smith said between 2018 and 2019, the UK spent about £10m (Shs43.9b) preparing Uganda to respond to an Ebola outbreak. 

It also contributed £548m (Shs2.4 trillion) to establish the Covax’s Advance Market Commitment that helped deliver more than 40 million Covid-19 vaccines to Uganda. 

He added that through UK Export Finance, the UK has an offer of up to £1 billion available to Uganda for several sectors, including health.

“We are currently working to support the establishment of a 640-acre pharmaceutical industrial park in Nakasongola. This can accommodate over 250 small to medium size manufacturing plants,” he said.

The UK has also been a significant donor to the Global Fund since its inception. In the last replenishment of the Global Fund, the UK contributed some $1.7 billion.

The director general of health services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Henry Mwebesa, said Uganda was holding discussions on modalities of exporting nurses to UK. 

Dr Mwebesa said the process of exporting nurses was halted by the World Health Organisation, which reasoned that the country first needed to have the required workforce back home before it could think of exporting health workers.

He said several training institutions in Uganda continue to train more nurses and that they would soon raise the number required for both domestic use and exportation. 


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